Current Developments

Strafverfolgung ohne Jurisdiktion?

Das Legitimitätsdilemma des IStGH angesichts der Rohingya-Ermittlungen

Die Chef-Anklägerin des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (IStGH) sorgte mit ihrem neusten Antrag vergangene Woche für einigen Wirbel. Am letzten Donnerstag ersuchte Fatou Bensouda die Vorverfahrenskammer um Erlaubnis, mit ihren Ermittlungen um die Geschehnisse in Bangladesch/Myanmar im Jahr 2017 fortfahren zu dürfen. Damit befindet sich der Fall nun in jener Phase, an der die gerichtliche Aufarbeitung der Situation in Afghanistan im April scheiterte, nachdem sich der IStGH in seinem wegweisenden Beschluss gegen die …

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Current Developments

In the wake of the ICJ’s Opinion in Chagos: Britannia waives the rules

The United Kingdom recently reacted against the International Court of Justice’s Advisory Opinion on the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius. Has the UK abandoned the international rule of law? A unanimous verdict sows division On 25 February 2019, the ICJ handed down its Advisory Opinion on the UK’s separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius on 8 November 1965. The Opinion stated clearly that the excision of Chagos …

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Event

Conference “Cynical International Law?”

Program and Registration for Engaged Listeners

The joint conference of the Working Group of Young Scholars in Public International Law (Arbeitskreis junger Völkerrechtswissenschaftler*innen – AjV) and the German Society of International Law (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationales Recht – DGIR) on the topic of Cynical International Law? Abuse and Circumvention in Public International and European Law 6 – 7 September 2019, Freie Universität Berlin has published its conference program and is now open for registration for engaged …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

Dilemmatic Discomfort: Author’s Response

I am very grateful to Rostam Neuwirth, Surabhi Ranganathan, Wolfgang Thierse and Lea Wisken for taking the time to engage with my book in such a thoughtful and constructive manner. I would also like to thank the Völkerrechtsblog, and in particular, Sebastian Spitra, for arranging this symposium and Valentina Kleinsasser for translating the interview with Wolfgang Thierse. The four contributions raise many more points and questions than I have space …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

“Irresolvable Norm Conflicts”: An Oxymoron?

Norm conflicts in international law have received surprisingly little attention, given their fundamental relevance for law in general and the present international legal order in particular. Long ago, a few pages in Emer De Vattel’s Le droit des gens, published in 1758 (De Vattel 1758: 507-514, and an article by C. Wilfred Jenks titled “The Conflict of Law-Making Treaties”, published in 1953 (Jenks 1953), would have nearly completed the list …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

The international whaling regime – a law with no teeth?

Hosting the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan has been at the center of international attention lately. Less prominent than the G20 summit, but not less noteworthy is the reintroduction of commercial whaling in Japan. Beginning on Monday, 01 July 2019, it will be legal to hunt whales for openly economic reasons in Japan’s coastal waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for the first time in more than 30 years. While …

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Current Developments

100 years of the International Labour Organization or: You can’t have the birthday cake and eat it

In June, more than 6000 delegates celebrated the centenary of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the occasion of the 108th International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva. A broad range of heads of state and high level representatives were among the congratulators who conveyed to the plenary their affirmation of ILO’s main objective. An objective which is in a nutshell captured by the first sentence of the preamble of the …

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Current Developments

Setting the record straight how detention and indictment works in Sweden – as illustrated by the Assange case

In a recently published text, Nils Melzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Human Rights Chair, Geneva Academy and Professor of International Law at the University of Glasgow, felt “repulsion and disbelief”, starting off with stating that Assange “has never been charged with a sexual offence” in Sweden. If one’s understanding of criminal procedure is based only on English law or common law, this is a serious allegation, if you are …

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Current Developments

The US Armed Forces at the Mexican Border – Entering Legally Murky Territories?

The Trump-Administration is increasingly concerned about the security situation within Mexico. It views it as a threat to national security in light of its cross-boundary implications, such as the flow of irregular migrants and drugs into the US (for further details see Cooper). In reaction, President Trump has decided, among other measures such as building a wall (see Proclamation 9844, establishing a controversial ‘state of emergency’ to fund it), to …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

Legal dilemmas: the first step towards a solution is to acknowledge the problem

Imagine that you are the captain of a ship located halfway between several people drowning. You have a duty towards each of them but are unable to save everyone. In such a situation, Valentin Jeutner argues, you are confronted with not only a moral but possibly also a legal dilemma. The notion of a legal dilemma challenges the assumption that international law is a coherent system providing a binary classification …

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DiscussionResponse

Mehr davon!

Völkerstrafrecht und das Streben nach Glück

In seinem Beitrag „Neues Tribunal, neues Glück?“ vom 12. Juni 2019 stellt Simon Gauseweg umfassend die Möglichkeiten einer völkerstrafrechtlichen Aufarbeitung des „Islamischen Staats“ dar. Es geht ihm dabei nicht nur um eine reine Darstellung, sondern auch um eine Bewertung, „ob das Völkerstrafrecht von der Aufarbeitung des Konflikts (…) profitieren kann oder ob die Gefahr eines Rückschritts besteht.“ In eine ähnliche Richtung zielt der Beitrag „Endlich! Erster Haftbefehl gegen einen ranghohen …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

Romancing the State

Perhaps the first and very pleasant thought that will strike readers of Irresolvable Norm Conflicts in International Law is that the medium is not the message. The book is about the impossibility of reconciling norms that pull in different directions. The writing, however, achieves the feat – not impossible, but very difficult – of balancing erudition with intuition, and complexity with concision. Over the slender course of 153 elegantly drafted …

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InterviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

„Wer entscheidet, macht sich schuldig“

Ein Interview mit Wolfgang Thierse

Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) war von 1998 – 2005 Präsident und von 2005 – 2013 Vizepräsident des Deutschen Bundestages. Von 1991 – 2013 war Thierse Vorsitzender der Grundwertekommission der SPD. Das Interview führte Valentin Jeutner mit Wolfgang Thierse am 21. Mai 2019 in Berlin. Eine englische Übersetzung des Interviews findet sich hier.   Valentin Jeutner: Lieber Herr Thierse, ich möchte mit Ihnen heute über mein kürzlich veröffentlichtes Buch sprechen. In dem …

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InterviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

“The one who decides is guilty”

An interview with Wolfgang Thierse

Wolfgang Thierse (SPD) was the President of the German Bundestag from 1998 to 2005 and its Vice-President from 2005 to 2013. From 1991 to 2013, Thierse was chairman of the SPD’s Values and Principles Commission. Valentin Jeutner conducted the interview with Wolfgang Thierse on 21 May 2019 in Berlin. This English translation of the authoritative German version was prepared by Valentina Kleinsasser.   Valentin Jeutner: Mr Thierse, today I would …

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Book ReviewIrresolvable Norm ConflictsSymposium

Irresolvable Norm Conflicts: The Concept of a Legal Dilemma

A Book Symposium

Over the course of the next few days the Völkerrechtsblog is pleased to host an online symposium of Valentin Jeutner’s recently published book: Irresolvable Norm Conflicts in International Law: The Concept of a Legal Dilemma (OUP 2017). Those who have not (yet) read the book may be referred to a cinematic short film based on the book’s central argument. Valentin Jeutner is a Senior Associate Lecturer in Law at Lund …

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Current Developments

Winter is (no longer) coming

The impact of the Arctic melt on Inuit peoples

Climate Change is an all-engulfing global challenge, triggering its share of fear, skepticism and most recently outright denial. This reality is alarming. An IPCC special report warns of global temperatures rising 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. By 2080, the Arctic Summer Sea Ice is expected to disappear completely. Unfortunately, States continue to ignore the horrifying prospect of a vanishing arctic, and its impact on the lives of the Arctic …

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Völkerrechtsblog

Help us to improve Völkerrechtsblog!

Ever wanted to give us some feedback? This is your chance! Völkerrechtsblog will get a new website, and before we start the reform process we would like to hear your opinion. We highly appreciate if you take 10 minutes to tell us what we can improve to make Völkerrechtsblog even better and more user friendly.

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Discussion

Lost in translation

Varying German-language versions of international treaties and documents

“Of course, international law is the same everywhere, so it’s not a problem, right?” is the response I often get when talking about my transition into German academia. Anthea Roberts prominently made the case that this is not necessarily true. Surprisingly, I discovered that some of it differs even between Austria and Germany. Teaching international law courses at a German University, I expected to simply draw from my previous years …

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Current Developments

Neues Tribunal, neues Glück?

Überlegungen zur völkerstrafrechtlichen Aufarbeitung des „Islamischen Staats“

Im Februar drohte U.S.-Präsident Donald Trump per Twitter an, Kämpfer der Terrormiliz „Islamischer Staat“ (IS), die sich im Gewahrsam kurdischer Milizen in Syrien befinden, freizulassen. Viele der Kämpfer sind Staatsangehörige westlicher Staaten und möchten möglicherweise in ihre Heimatländer zurückkehren. Vor diesem Hintergrund verstärkt sich die Debatte, wie der militärisch ausgetragene Konflikt mit dem IS juristisch aufgearbeitet werden soll. Sollte hierzu ein gesondertes Tribunal eingerichtet werden? Es steht außer Frage, dass …

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Current Developments

Centenary struggles: climate change & informality at ILO 100

One of the most disruptive new realities transforming the contemporary world of work is that of climate change. Escalating dislocations, disasters, floods, extreme heat, and other ‘exceptional’ catastrophes are on the horizon, globally. As a further matter, the social and economic burdens of climate change will most severely impact individuals and communities living and working in situations of informality, broadly meaning, in the absence of rights and social protection. The …

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SymposiumThe GDPR as a global standard-setter for data protection

The charm of jurisdictions: a modern version of Solomon’s judgment?

From a perspective of international law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) pioneers particularly in terms of its (extraterritorial) application. Whereas in international law, which is based on the Westphalian notion of exclusive state sovereignty, this sovereignty is usually restricted to the state’s own territory and allows for an extraterritorial application of human rights only in exceptional circumstances, the GDPR prominently standardises the domestic-market principle in Article 3(2) GDPR. The …

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SymposiumThe GDPR as a global standard-setter for data protection

The GDPR and algorithmic decision-making

Safeguarding individual rights, but forgetting society

In algorithmic decision-making systems (ADM systems) machines evaluate and assess human beings and, on this basis, make a decision or provide a forecast or a recommendation for action. Thus, it is not only the data processing as such, but above all the automated decision resulting from the data processing that contains risks for the user. The current international legal framework encompasses such risks by guaranteeing privacy, data protection, personality rights …

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SymposiumThe GDPR as a global standard-setter for data protection

The internet on its way back to a future of human dignity?

One year EU General Data Protection Regulation

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come a long way since it was first tabled as proposal by the European Commission on 25 January 2012. Probably, it will be remembered as the biggest achievement of the outgoing Juncker Commission. Despite the fact that Europe plays a second-tier role when it comes to the development and production of data-driven technology and services, research shows that of 132 countries which have …

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Current Developments

Ukrainische Matrosen bald auf der Heimreise?

Zur Entscheidung des ITLOS zu vorläufigen Maßnahmen in der Sache Ukraine v. Russia

Russland muss drei ukrainische Kriegsschiffe und 24 inhaftierte Crewmitglieder unverzüglich freilassen. Das hat der Internationale Seegerichtshof (ITLOS) am 25. Mai 2019 in einem Verfahren zum einstweiligen Rechtsschutz im Case concerning the detention of three Ukrainian naval vessels (Ukraine v. Russian Federation) entschieden. Diesen vorläufigen Maßnahmen („provisional measures“) ging ein Zwischenfall im Schwarzen Meer am 25. November 2018 voraus, bei dem Russland die ukrainischen Kriegsschiffe Berdyansk, Nikopol und Yani Kapu angriff und samt …

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SymposiumThe GDPR as a global standard-setter for data protection

Designed to serve mankind?

The politics of the General Data Protection Regulation

The collection and processing of our personal data is changing sense-making of the world and ourselves, as are projects of governance surrounding it. In the year since it has become effective, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has come to represent a global standard for privacy and data protection. Yet, the idea that the GDPR represents a global standard assumes a uniform cultural and political context globally and overlooks broader questions …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Us & them

On xenophobic policies and human rights

On 21 May 2019, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe published a report following her visit to Hungary from 4 to 8 February 2019. The report inter alia deals with the human rights situation of migrants and refugees in Hungary and discusses five points in this regard: inaccessibility of protection, violence and ill-treatment in connection with removals from the territory, detentions, treatment of unaccompanied minors under …

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Current Developments

Retaliatory Strikes as a Reaction to Cyber-Attacks?

The recent Israeli Airstrike against HamasCyberHQ from an IHL perspective

Between Friday (3 May 2019) and Sunday (5 May 2019) violence erupted again between Israel and the Palestinians led by governing Hamas in the Gaza Strip. In the course of a severe exchange of violence between the two conflict parties, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conducted a physical attack countering an offensive cyber operation by Hamas. According to IDF, the air strike was conducted against the Hamas Cyber Headquarter and …

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Current Developments

The climax of the Al-Bashir saga

The ICC’s Jordan judgment

In the judgment of 6 May 2019, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) found that Jordan had failed to comply with its obligation to arrest and surrender the (at that time sitting) Sudanese President Al-Bashir during the summit of the Arab League in Jordan. This may be the legal climax of the frustrating Al-Bashir saga, the saga of the wanderlust of an allegedly criminal president of a …

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Current Developments

Controversies in Caracas

Diplomatic asylum: regional customary law or treaty application?

After the failure of the uprising of the Venezuelan opposition, prosecuted politicians and military members are seeking refuge in the diplomatic representations of Brazil, Spain, Argentina and Italy. One might wonder if these incidents give reason to reconsider the existence of a regional customary rule on diplomatic asylum in Latin America. Diplomatic circumstances – controversial interests Diplomatic asylum is not codified, as it was left aside when the International Law …

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Current Developments

Can German courts stop “Hellfire” from Ramstein?

Being a Saarbrücken-based legal scholar traveling regularly to Frankfurt, the sight of the American Ramstein Air Base (or “Ramstein” for short) approaching just before Kaiserslautern is nothing unusual. Most of the time, the high fences on the left side go unnoticed, unless perhaps one of the US Airforce “Globemasters” is casually floating over the highway. This was different on my last trip to Frankfurt – when spotting Ramstein triggered my …

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Forum

Where the Kaiser meets Pinochet

Some thoughts on the role of museums in memorialising international crimes

I recently visited a rather dubious location in Santiago de Chile. A restaurant, owned by a German, designed like a Bavarian beer house, praised by the local press as an ‘authentic German enclave’ in Santiago. There is nothing dubious to this as such of course. But when I entered the place, saw the fence surrounding it and the Prussian flag in its logo, I could not help the feeling that …

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Current Developments

Judge Ozaki’s Case

Moonlighting at the International Criminal Court?

On March 19, 2019, seventeen of the eighteen judges of International Criminal Court (hereinafter ‘the Court’) sat to decide on the fate of Judge Ozaki as a judge of the Court. Back in January this year, Judge Ozaki had requested the Presidency to change her status from a ‘full-time judge’ to a ‘non-full-time judge’ of the Court. The request was granted. Later, in February, Judge Ozaki informed the Court that …

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Current Developments

Setback for the descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero indigenous peoples

A New York Court declines jurisdiction in Rukoro et al. v. Germany

Almost two years after members and descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero indigenous peoples filed a class action complaint against the Federal Republic of Germany in a United States District Court, the New York Court dealing with the case dismissed the complaint on March 6, 2019 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiffs have filed a notice of appeal to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

“Give me your money, you tired, poor and huddled masses!”

On the introduction of application fees in U.S. asylum law

On 29 April 2019, the President of the United States of America ordered new restrictions on asylum seekers. The restrictions include a fee for asylum applications. This BOFAX reflects on such a fee against the backdrop of the United States’ obligations under international refugee law, especially the 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (1967 Protocol) to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The President of the U.S. gave the order …

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Current Developments

Meilenstein für LGBTIQ*-Rechte

Das Gutachten OC-24/17 des IAGMR und seine Umsetzung in der Region

In den nächsten Wochen wird sich das ecuadorianische Verfassungsgericht zur Ehe für alle äußern müssen. Ein Gericht (Corte Provincial de Justicia de Pichincha) hatte dem Gerichtshof die Frage vorgelegt, ob sich aus einem Gutachten des Interamerikanischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (IAGMR) aus dem Jahr 2017 (Opinión Consultiva OC-24/17) für Ecuador die Verpflichtung ergibt, das Institut der Ehe auch für gleichgeschlechtliche Paare zu öffnen. Vor wenigen Tagen fand eine mündliche Verhandlung statt, …

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Völkerrechtsblog

Das Team stellt sich vor / Introducing our team

Wer steht eigentlich hinter dem Völkerrechtsblog? Anlässlich unseres 5-jährigen Bestehens möchten wir uns vorstellen – und erklären, was uns an der Blogarbeit begeistert. In den nächsten Monaten wird unser Team zusätzliche Verstärkung erhalten, worauf wir uns sehr freuen. Stay tuned! Ever wondered who stands behind Völkerrechtsblog? On the occasion of our 5th anniversary we would like to introduce ourselves – and explain what inspires us to participate in this project. …

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Völkerrechtsblog

Happy Birthday, Völkerrechtsblog!

Today exactly five years ago, our first post went online. To celebrate a birthday with a blog means to celebrate what fills the blog with life: its articles, its authors, its readers, its commentators – and not least the whole editing team whose dedicated work makes Völkerrechtsblog possible. We are extremely happy about how the blog has evolved over the last years. It started off as a small project run …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

“Nun sag’, wie hast Du’s mit der Gerechtigkeit?”

Zur Antwort des IStGH auf die Gretchenfrage, in Afghanistan Ermittlungen aufzunehmen

Viel ist darüber gesagt worden (s. hier und hier), wie moralisch enttäuschend und politisch besorgniserregend die Entscheidung des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofes (IStGH) ist, keine Situationsermittlung nach Art. 15 Abs. 3 Rom Statut (RS) in Afghanistan zu autorisieren. In diesem Post untersuchen wir die Kernelemente der Entscheidung. Zunächst analysieren wir den Ablehnungsbeschluss der Untersuchung durch die Vorverfahrenskammer aus Gründen von „Interessen der Gerechtigkeit“. In einem zweiten Schritt beleuchten wir die Bedeutung der …

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Call for ContributionsSymposiumThe GDPR as a global standard-setter for data protection

Promise and Peril: The GDPR as a global standard-setter for data protection

The Völkerrechtsblog is happy to announce a forthcoming online symposium on the impact of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on international law. The GDPR is not the only international legal instrument on data protection but it certainly is one of the most influential ones: Since it has become binding in May 2018 it has influenced several data protection reform processes around the world, inside as well as outside …

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Current Developments

The necessity to develop a Regional Refugee Framework for South Asia

There are more than two and half million refugees in the South Asian countries, with majority of them residing in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. At the same time, the South Asian countries are the place of origin for at least 3 million refugees, with Afghanistan being the country of origin for nearly 2.5 million refugees. Evidently, there is a significant refugee population in the South Asian countries and considering the …

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Book ReviewResponse

Heroes and theories

A response to Raphael Schäfer

In his post, Raphael Schäfer provides a considerate, careful and kind re-reading of my dissertation on Hermann Mosler and West German international legal scholarship after 1945. Raphael makes, by and large, three critical remarks. First, he indicates that my exploration of alternative conceptions to the practice-oriented method might be a misfit. Second, he wonders whether I overemphasize Mosler’s formative influence on German international legal scholarship. And third, he suggests that I …

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Book ReviewKick-off

Practice as method

Germany’s rehabilitation in and through international law

‘International law is what international lawyers do.’ This statement slightly abridged taken from Martti Koskenniemi’s seminal Gentle Civilizer of Nations, points forthright to one of international law’s key characteristics: it is shaped by practice. This practice – not being a source of international law in itself without supporting opinio juris – is of course first and foremost set by states. On a second layer state practice is to a certain …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Keeping it clean (part II)

On the protection of outer space as part of the environment

This Bofax is the second part of a two-part series – inspired by India successfully testing an anti-satellite (ASAT) missile against an Indian satellite and thereby causing space debris – that deals with selected issues revolving around the use of ASAT missiles against satellites of other states. When space objects such as satellites are destroyed, a cloud of particles of different sizes, known as space debris, remains. This debris can …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Keeping it clean (part I)

On the prohibition on the use of force in an ASAT context